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Wistariahurst Museum, Historic Trees

November 17, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST

On Wednesday, November 17 at 6:00 PM, Wistariahurst will host researcher Michaela Wright as she presents A Storied Landscape: Historic Trees of Holyoke, a virtual program. The program is free and open to all, but registration is required at www.wistariahurst.org

Join Wright as she explores the history of Holyoke through the city’s urban trees.  From the old growth forests of Mount Tom to the young saplings of Holyoke Heritage State park, the trees lining Holyoke Streets tell a story of the city’s past and future.  Kentucky Coffee Trees bear evidence of the indigenous presence in New England, while magnificent old Maples stand in memorial to early German mill workers.  Dawn redwood saplings connect the future of local parks to the prehistoric past.

Based on research conducted in Holyoke over the summer of 2021, Wright will explore the city’s most significant trees and the stories they tell about local history and landscape.


Michaela Wright is an interpretive writer and researcher based in New York.  Her past experiences include work for the New York Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution.

historic trees

The project is a small part of a larger Urban Forest Equity Plan recently produced by the Department of Conservation and Sustainability funded with a Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Grant. The plan will advance the city’s on-going goal to mitigate the impacts of climate change, including localized flooding, stormwater pollution, air quality, and urban heat island effect, all of which can be impacted by tree placement and the urban tree canopy.

The Historic Tree Inventory is an off-shoot of this effort that dives into the landscape history of Holyoke and has provided multiple ways for the public to engage directly with the efforts. The project will continue collecting public input at September 9th’s event.

Named after the wisteria vine that flowers in May, Wistariahurst was home to two generations of the Skinner family who loved to garden.  Begun by Sarah Skinner in the late 19th Century and then transformed by her daughter Belle Skinner in the early 20th, the grounds and gardens have always been an integral part of the life and activities at Wistariahurst.

Wistariahurst is the former home of William Skinner, a prominent silk manufacturer and was built in 1874.

Gardens and Grounds

The gardens and grounds at Wistariahurst are maintained for your enjoyment. The public is welcome dawn until dusk. Feel free to bring a book, a picnic, or walk to see what is in bloom. We ask that everyone refrain from sports with projectiles (frisbee, baseball, etc.) for the protection of our historic windows.

The gardens are free and can be accessed via the Cabot St. Lions entrance (through the wrought iron gate) and via our Beech St. driveways (path is between the two buildings).

Tour the Mansion

Mansion Tours

All are welcome to schedule a mansion tour with our staff! Visit the first and second floors of the historic building, learn more about the lives of those who lived there, and tales of Holyoke’s past.

We ask that tour groups be limited to no more than no more than 8 people (we will gladly accommodate solo guests!) Call 413-322-5660 or email [email protected] to schedule.


Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
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(413) 322 5660
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